On Digital Identity
– workshop with IDEK in Stockholm

Are you one of those who warmly remembers the ‘early’ years of web2.0, when most peoples minds were still on the bursted dotcom-bubble and going around saying stuff like «i think teachers should use their full name online» felt like it was just controversial enough to make it into a post? When it still felt like collaboration was important and something that mattered and would ultimately change the world?

I used to be one of those, but somewhere along the way, gradually, as marketers adopted to Facebook and all kinds of SoMe-specialists made longer and strongers arguments on how one could use these new tools to reach an ever increasing mass of people and the potential of hitting the virality-goldmine was the main point, i got a bit delusioned. Was ROI, as on invest money to get more money back, all that mattered? I gradually lost faith. Until I met Abhay Adhikari (or @gopaldass ).

The title of the seminar, something along the lines of «Strategic presense in Social Media» sounded like, well, not that special. Still; as Kajsa Hartig had mentioned it, perhaps it was worth the trip?

It was.

Abhay started by outlining the days program. How do you 1) manage your digital identity in a way that 2) builds and takes controll of you digital eco-system in order to 3) make it help you getting things done.

So that’s what we did. We looked at a high number of digital profiles, specifically bios, discussing how they came across. Too ambitious? With humour? We reworked other profiles, trying to bring out cynisism, humor or humbleness. And we wrote new ones for ourselves, reading them outloud, getting instant feedback.

«Your bio is your filter. That’s where you build an expectation, and give the other the opt. to decide whether they want to subscribe to your long-form-thoughts», Abhay said. «That’s where you start building your digital ecosystem».

From there we went on to work together in groups, starting out with an idea for a project and/ or a fairly general question. Then we identified a potential first step, something we need to get done to move the project forward, something operational. We then identified potential influencers + profiled them in a fairly generic way with three key treats. At least one should have the potential to be negative. (Obviously, our up and coming architect had an ego like nothing else…) Then we took that info and used it as the startingpoint for asking questions and involving our digital ecosystem.

  1. Main Goal / task / idea (overarching) or specific question, fairly general
  2. first step, operational
  3. find influencers (in the process you’d get a bunch of different answers)
  4. two stars, one wish-treats of the influencer
  5. pose a question to your finely tuned digital ecosystem on the first step, with your influencer and their treats in mind to invite them to feed in to your project and help you make that first operational step happen or getting done.

It’s a way to embedd online dialogue with the process of your project. It’s a way of starting the (strategic) communication of a project before you know the outfall or end result of a project. It’s audience development.

Obviously it’s also about ROI, but it’s a slightly different kind of ROI. It’s one where the investment is knowledge and the return is knowledge.

Abhay Adhikari led two days of workshoping on managing your digital identity and strategic digital planning hosted by IDEK Lab in Stockholm 20–21 march 2013. It was a blast, and Abhay storified it.